6 ears corn 3 pounds chicken thighs with skin, excess fat trimmed 1 tablespoon oil 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices 3 medium onions, chopped 1 orange or red bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 large celery rib, sliced 2 fresh thyme sprigs 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pints), halved 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil Accompaniment: crusty bread preparation Cut kernels off cobs and, working over a large bowl, scrape cobs with knife to extract all juices. Discard cobs. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy 8-qt. pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown sausage, transferring to a plate. Brown chicken in batches, transferring to another plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot, then sauté onions, bell peppers, celery, thyme, cayenne, and salt to taste over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add corn with juices and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and sausage. Nestle chicken into mixture and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. If the maque choux is soupier than you like, simmer uncovered until juices are reduced. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper.